Prof. Makrand R Paranjpe, Director of Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, in a conversation with PBNS, expressed his thoughts regarding Twitter’s blog post published on 10 February. He stated that Twitter in India is here to do business and not promote or protect the freedom of expression.
In the same conversation, Prof. Paranjpe posed a question on the transparency of Twitter. He said, “When Twitter talks about transparency, we must ask if they have entirely been transparent themselves. Does Twitter distinguish between paid content and organically produced content? We all know that you can pay to set a trend on Twitter. Are they telling us which trends are paid for and which are organic?”
According to him, the lack of transparency can lead to disinformation which in turn can have a terrible impact, especially on impressionable minds. He also deems that disinformation can cause mental health problems, panic attacks and incite riots or violence because people often do not have the critical ability nor the time to do research to find out the reality behind specified news on social media.
Prof. Paranjpe opines that it is the responsibility of the tech giants like Google, Twitter, Instagram, Telegram, Netflix, etc. to ensure the monitoring of content in such a way that people understand the difference between misinformation and disinformation, factual and fake news.
He stated, “In the Rajya Sabha, Union Minister of Justice and Law, Ravi Shankar Prasad was absolutely right that in India we value freedom, but according to our constitution, freedom of expression is not absolute and is subject to reasonable restrictions.”
Towards the end of the conversation, Prof. Paranjpe stated that anti-trust legislation was brought against large technology companies in Australia and the European Union to reduce the impact that they make on unsuspecting viewers. “Why should India be an exception? Let’s not forget that our giant neighbour next door has banned the BBC. There’s hardly a UN cry over that but why is there so much criticism on what’s happening in India? The Indian government has a right to protect its citizens from disinformation and also protect its interests especially when it comes to sovereignty and territorial integrity,” said Prof. Paranjpe.
As Published by PBNS